Bitter (Gt.Bitter 0300262 , from Bitter 0300263 , ox or cow, and Bitter 0300264 , coagulum; Lat. butyrum), the fatty, non-azotized portion of milk. It exists in the form of microscopic globules, varying somewhat in size, and more in quantity, in different animals. The milk of the cow is regarded as the standard. The globules are distributed almost uniformly throughout the mass of fresh milk, and are the cause of its white opacity. They measure from 1/12,000 to 1/3000 of an inch in diameter, the variation being greater in healthy than in diseased milk. They have a caseous covering, which while the milk is fresh prevents their aggregation during ordinary agitation. Being the lightest of the constituents, they slowly rise to the surface when the milk is allowed to stand, and this separation is retarded or accelerated by the temperature and other circumstances. The amount of butter in a given quantity of milk varies considerably, and depends much upon the season and the food of the cow. Volcker, from careful analyses of unadulterated milk obtained from cows at different seasons of the year, and grazing in different pastures, found it to vary from 1.79 to 7.62 per cent. Milk of fair quality averages about 4.5 per cent.

Cream usually contains about 45 per cent, of butter, milk yielding about 10 per cent, of cream. According to Chevreul, cows' butter is composed of stearine, margarine, and oleine, with small quantities of butyrine, caproine, and caprine, to which its odor is due. According to Heintz, it consists of oleine, a large quantity of palmatine and a small quantity of stearine, together with small quantities of glycerides, yielding by saponification myristic acid and butic acid, C4H10O2. It dissolves in 28 parts of boiling alcohol of sp. gr. .82. It easily becomes rancid from the separation of the fatty acids from the glycerine, which maybe considerably prevented by salting, or by melting and separating foreign substances which induce decomposition. It is of a pale yellow color, solidifying at 79'7° F. When the temperature rises to 89.6° it may be completely saponified, yielding, according to Chevreul, glycerine, with stearic, margaric, oleic, and small quantities of butyric, caproic, arid capric acids; or, according to Heintz, stearic, oleic, palmatic, and small quantities of myristic and butic acids.

Manufactured butter has the following average composition:

Pure fatty matter ................


Water ................................

. 12.50

Common salt ....................

. 3.50

Milk sugar ........................

. .60

Caseline and albumen .............................



To obtain the fatty contents of the milk cells as free as possible from all the other constitu-tents of the milk, is the first and most important step in butter making. This, after carefully collecting the cream, is accomplished by churning, which process is performed in vessels of various forms, all having one object, viz., the agitation of the milk. (See Chuen.) The cream which rises during the first 12 hours is rather thinner than that which rises afterward, but is richer in butter. This is because the globules which have the thinnest cell walls are of less specific gravity than the others, and rise sooner. Moreover, during the process of milking, and in straining, many of the cells are broken, thus liberating the pure butter, which is still lighter. The best butter can therefore be made from cream obtained during the first 12 hours of the setting of the milk; but as this involves more expense, and to a certain extent injures the subsequent product, the mode is rarely practised. Usually, the best market butter is made from all the cream obtained during one setting. Churning the whole milk is sometimes practised, with the idea that a greater percentage of butter may be obtained.

Butter makers, however, say that, although more material may be obtained in this way from the milk, the amount of pure butter is less, and consequently the product is inferior in quality, and much sooner becomes rancid. In butter making, particular care should be given to cleanliness and temperature; the most scrupulous attention to the former being necessary to prevent the butter, which possesses the greater sensitiveness to bad odors and impure matter, from becoming tainted. The cows' udders should be washed and wiped dry before the milking begins, and the vessels into which the milk is drawn should have been carefully scalded and cleaned. The pans or cans into which the milk is strained, and the strainer itself, should be in the most thorough state of cleanliness, and the apartment in which the milk is placed for the rising of the cream should be perfectly free from dirt or impure odors. The quality of butter is also sensibly affected by the food. Good butter possesses differences of flavor according as the cows are fed on clover or blue grass, carrots or turnips. A small quantity of wild onion is readily detected in the butter as well as in the milk; and the impure constitutents of stagnant pools impart characteristic differences in flavor and odor, resembling the impurities.

It is therefore of great importance, as affecting the quality as well as the quantity, that the cows should have free access to pure spring water. With few exceptions, the best butter is now made in large establishments, called creameries or butter factories, as in this way a more perfect system can be followed, and greater exactness in time and temperature, uniformity in churning, and many important details, can be secured. The most convenient arrangement includes a spring house, the floor of which is covered with running water to the depth of about 18 inches, in which the milk is set in cans or buckets 8 or 10 inches in diameter and about 20 inches in height. The temperature of the water should be about 56° F. Instead of having the water run over the floor, it may be made to pass through vats or troughs. When the cans containing the recently drawn milk are placed in the water, which should rise a little above the level of the milk, the animal heat is soon reduced to between 56° and 58° F., and the milk will keep sweet for 36 hours even in the hottest weather. This temperature allows the cream to rise with greater facility, and with less admixture of other constituents, than can be obtained in any other way.

Some butter makers allow the milk to stand for 36 hours; others say that 24 hours is practically sufficient for all the cream to rise. It is found that as much cream is obtained by using deep as by using shallow vessels, while deep vessels have the advantage in economy of space, a better control of the temperature, less exposure to the air, and consequently less drying and hardening of the cream, by which the quality of the butter is affected. After the cream has risen it is to be removed by skimming, and after standing a suitable time is placed in the churn. The kind of churn generally preferred by the best butter makers is the common dash churn, made of white oak. This form possesses advantages too important to be overlooked over those which have been invented with a view to shorten the process of churning. It gathers the butter in masses, excluding the caseous cell walls and other constituents in a more perfect manner, and consequently yields a better product, as these substances cannot be entirely removed by after-working. Much depends upon the manner in which the operation is performed, even with the same churn. A very desirable quality in butter is what is called grain. This is destroyed by too rapid churning, by melting, or by heating the cream too highly before churning.

Good butter possesses . this quality of grain in consequence of the contents of the cells preserving in a certain degree their form, or at least their identity; a result which can only be obtained by keeping the material throughout the whole process of manufacture at a temperature at which the particles of butter are solid and firm, and by using the proper amount and kind of mechanical force. When cold, firm butter of prime quality is broken, the grain may be easily recognized. The swing churn, and the substitute for it lately invented in England, by which the cream is thrown alternately from one end of the vessel to the other, probably allow of a more perfect preservation of the grain than even the dash churn. The chief objections to their use are increased labor and the limited amount of cream that can be churned at one time. The temperature at which the churning should be performed is a matter of great importance, as well as the time occupied. At the commencement the cream should be at about 58° F. During the process it rises to 64° or 65°. The time occupied in churning 12 or 15 gallons of cream should be from 40 to 60 minutes.

Greater rapidity is injurious, as it mixes the cell walls and the buttermilk with the butter, renders it less firm and solid, and injures the grain. When taken from the churn it should be thoroughly washed in pure cold water, using a ladle, and not the hands. It should then be salted with about 1/20 of its weight of the purest and finest salt, which should be thoroughly incorporated with it by means of a butter worker or ladle, the hands being never allowed to touch the butter. From 8 to 12 hours afterward a second working should be performed, and the butter packed in strong and perfectly tight white oak firkins. When filled, they should be headed up and a strong brine poured in at the top until all the interstices are filled. It should then be placed in a cool, well ventilated cellar. Many persons suppose that it is necessary for cream to become sour before it is fit to churn; but, according to Prof. Johnson of Yale college, "readiness for churning depends chiefly upon the time that has elapsed since milking, and the temperature to which it has been exposed in the pans. The colder it is, the longer it must be kept. At a medium temperature, 60° to 70°, it becomes suitable for the churn in 24 hours, or before the cream has entirely risen. Access of air appears to hasten the process.

The souring of milk or cream has directly little to do with preparing them for the churn. Its influence is, however, otherwise felt, as it causes the caseine to pass beyond that gelatinous condition in which the latter is inclined to foam strongly at low temperatures, and, by enveloping the fat globules, hinders their uniting together. On churning cream that is very sour, the caseine separates in a fine, granular state, which does not interfere with the gathering of the butter." In Devonshire a method called "clouting" has long been practised. The new milk, after standing 12 hours, is gradually raised to a temperature of 180° F., and then returned to the milk room until all the cream has risen. This process ha3 been thought by those who practised it to allow of a more complete separation of the cream, and to shorten the duration of churning; but according to the principles above laid down, which are obtained from the best practice, the process is inferior to that of the modern creameries. Dr. Ure gives the following directions for curing butter, known as the Irish method: "Take one part of sugar, one of nitre, and two of the best Spanish great salt, and rub them together into a fine powder.

This composition is to be mixed thoroughly with the butter as soon as it is completely freed from the milk, in the proportion of one ounce to 16; and the butter thus prepared is to be pressed tight into the vessel prepared for it, so as to leave no vacuities. This butter does not taste well till it has stood at least a fortnight; it then has a rich, marrowy flavor that no other butter ever acquires." At Constantinople fresh butter is melted over a slow fire, and the scum removed as it rises. It is then salted, and may be kept in good condition two years. Thenard says that the heat should not exceed 140° F. - The ancients were almost entirely unacquainted with butter. It is mentioned in the English version of the Old Testament, but modern Biblical scholars regard the Hebrew word 'hemah, rendered butter, as denoting cream or a liquid preparation. The oldest mention of butter is by Herodotus, in his account of the Scythians. Hippocrates mentions both butter and cheese. Plutarch tells of a.visit paid by a Spartan lady to Berenice, the wife of Deiotarus, tetrarch of Galatia. This lady smelled so strongly of sweet ointment and Berenice of butter that they could not endure each other's.presence.AEliansays that the Indians anointed the wounds of their elephants with butter.. Dioscorides mentions the making of butter from sheep's milkr by agitation, and the pouring it in a melted state over pulse and vegetables; instead of oil; and recommends its use in pastry.

At that time a soot was made by burning butter in a lamp, from which they prepared an ointment forr inflammation of the eyes. Galen says that cows' milk yields the best butter, goats' milk giving an inferior article, and asses' milk the poorest. He says that butter may be very properly employed for ointments, and that when leather is besmeared with it the same purpose is answered as when it is rubbed over with oil. Butter was scarcely used or known by the Greeks or Romans during the 2d century. The Greeks obtained their knowledge of it from the Scythians, Thracians, and Phrygians, while the Romans became acquainted with it through the Germans. The Roman writers say that the Germans used a great deal of milk, some affirming that they made it into cheese, while others say that they made butter. Pliny says that they used butter as food, but did not make cheese. The Romans, however, did not use it as food, but as an ointment and in medicine; and their writers on agriculture do not mention it as an article of food, as they do cheese and oil.

The olive oil which the Romans produced in great quantities seems to have satisfied their tastes, and even at the present day butter is rarely used in southern Europe. - The state of New York produces more than one fifth of all the butter that is made in the United States; the total product of all the states in 1870 being 514,092,683 lbs., of which the product of New York was 107,147,526 lbs. Pennsylvania produced 60,834,644, Ohio 50,266,372, Illinois 36,083,405, Iowa 27,512,179, Michigan 24,400,185, Indiana 22,915,385, Wisconsin 22,-473,036, Vermont 17,844,396, Tennessee 9,571,-069, Massachusetts 6,559,161, and Maryland 5,014,729 lbs. The great butter counties in New York are St. Lawrence, Delaware, Chenango, Chautauqua, and Jefferson. Orange county still retains its reputation for excellent butter, but furnishes a much smaller quantity than several others. St. Lawrence in 1870 produced 8,419,095, Delaware 6,135,715, Chenango 5,319,814, Chautauqua 5.049,037, Jefferson 4,883,508, and Orange 1,403,409 lbs. The most important butter county of Pennsylvania in 1870 was Bradford, which produced 3,704,-709 lbs.

The exports of butter from the United States to various countries for the year ending June 30, 1871, were 3,965,043 lbs., valued at $853,096. Of this amount 2,201,934 lbs. went to Great Britain and her possessions.